It's mid-December and I should be looking forward to the holidays and a brand new year filled with promise.
But I'm worried. It may not seem sensible, but I've actually been having trouble falling asleep at night--thinking about what is going to happen to the environment when the 114th Congress gets to work.
Big campaign dollars from the fossil-fuel sector reaped major benefits, and those who have been itching to cut the Environmental Protection Agency off at the knees now have a majority in both houses.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), climate denier extraordinaire, is poised to step into the role of chairperson of the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW). Inhofe has been quite busy lately--engaging with Barbra Streisand on Twitter--about her nefarious role in promoting "environmental alarmism."
This stuff makes great fodder for the late night comedians, but it makes me very nervous. Inhofe has dissed top military leaders and the Department of Defense, although both have insisted that extreme weather will play a major role in global instability.
Nations around the world are trying to determine how to move the needle on cutting carbon emissions in their own countries, with the goal of working in tandem with others. This year's meeting at Lima just came to a close, and the march to Paris 2015 is beginning. Will the United States be in a position to lead, or will we be back to square one, courtesy of those who disbelieve 99 percent of scientists?
I'm pretty sure that Inhofe must be reading different news feeds than I am; otherwise, how could he fail to be as concerned as I am? Below are some of my top anxieties, not necessarily in order of my angst:
*A new study estimates that there is more than one quarter million tons of toxic plastic pollution in the world's oceans.
*The Keystone XL Pipeline will be passed and end up on President Obama's desk--and I'm not sure what he will do.
*Resolutions will be introduced that will strip the EPA of its capacity to implement dates for regulations to go into effect, instead, giving that power to Congress.
*Air pollution in India is turning the Taj Mahal brown. Yikes!
*Communities that are composed of low-income residents and people of color will continue to be overwhelmed by placement of toxic facilities in their neighborhoods.
Sounds pretty dismal, doesn't it?
But I'm not going to buy into my worst fears. Instead, I'm going to be full out, unbelievably positive. In 2015, I'm going into January with a list of stuff to be grateful for. Here are my top items, in no particular order: